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Unfriendly or very scared formerly feral cat?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

I recently adopted a male cat, who is about 6-7 months old. A month and a half ago, my precious 14 year old orange tabby Frisky, had a bad stroke and had to be put to sleep. Naturally, devastated doesn't even begin to describe how upset I was, having had him for the majority of my life. We took him to our vet the morning we realized something was wrong and the vet said he had lost most of his motor skills and some of his sight. He could tell Frisky would not recover and so we had him put to sleep. A little over a week later, I got a random call from the vet's office just one day after I picked up my Frisky's ashes. Figuring they messed up a bill or something, I answered. They were calling to tell me that the vet has three kittens that made him think of me. Of course they are were all orange and one was a short-haired, male. What is really too coincidental is that this happened to be the same week I had gotten Frisky as a Christmas present, 15 years prior. And I had said a little prayer the night before the call, asking for a sign someday telling me when I would be ready for a new kitten. I took this phone call to be a sign and I made an appointment to meet the little male kitten. When I did, I was surprised to see that the new kitten's appearance resembled Frisky in every way, except the eyes. Frisky's were green and the new kittens are amber colored. He also had a very loud purr, just like Frisky. My family and I decided to take him and the vet neutered him and did a full check free of charge.

 

We took little Chance home a week later and expected him to be scared. He hissed all the time and he hid constantly for the first few days. He did eat and became very friendly with our other cat Crosby, which was a blessing, but he would not let us touch him or pick him up.

 

Now, we have had him a month. He absolutely loves Crosby and plays with us now, but still we can't pet him or hold him. He did briefly allow us to touch him, but only if we cornered him or had treats in our hands. He is always on the look out for us, even when he is napping. He doesn't trust us.  I know these things take time, but I want to know how I can help him get more comfortable around me.

 

I am very frustrated because my Frisky was the friendliest, happiest cat, who was always in my lap. Chance wants nothing to do with me. Anyone have any suggestions?

post #2 of 15
My Boots, who is now seven months old, was feral as well when I got him at 2 months old.

He hissed and hissed at me when I first got him, and wouldn't let me touch him hardly at all. I kept him separate in just one room, the bathroom, until I knew he could get along with my other adult cat, Kramer. That's my best advice: whenever you or a family member has free time, take Chance into the bathroom with you, shut the door, sit on the floor, and either do something else (read a book, play on a laptop, do your taxes, etc) or play with him with toys and treats for a while. I would recommend at least an hour of this per day, more if you have the time. If he's very scared, and hiding behind the toilet, don't reach for him or force him to come out. Let him come to you; he'll let you know when he's ready to play. Kittens get bored very easily. laughing02.gif

He'll be scared at first, but eventually he'll realize that you're not a big mean monster coming to eat him. Being closer to his level helps; that's why I recommend sitting on the floor, because few things scared Boots more than me towering over him and reaching down to pet him. Cats think of space more vertically than we do, which is why they love climbing things and being on cat trees. Don't skimp on the treats; he might be very food-motivated, which will cause him to associate you, which he's not sure about yet, with treats, which he might love. This is a good thing.

Now, I can't promise that this will transform him into an easygoing, stranger-loving lap cuddler. Boots is still quite scared of most people that aren't me, although he does like at least a little lap time every day. (I live alone.) But if each family member does it, in time, he'll most likely come to tolerate everyone. He'll probably also bond specially with one member of your family, though that doesn't mean he doesn't love the rest of you biggrin.gif
post #3 of 15
Oh, and WELCOME TO TCS!! wavey.gif I see you've already figured out posting, but if you'd like, you should wander over to the New Cats on the Block forum and introduce you and your furfamily. We all love to see pictures. wavey.gif And if you need help navigating the site, just PM me or a moderator and we'll help however we can.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

I would love to take Chance into a room and spend time with him. but I can't catch him and I think he is a little traumatized by my sister chasing him. He likes to hang out under a bed in my sister's playroom so we lay on the floor and play with him under there. The problem is he usually runs when we get within feet of him. Will chasing/catching him make him distrust us more?

post #5 of 15

I would let him come to you.  If he's running because he is scared or unsure of you; then I would say it would just reinforce his fears.  That's why the quiet, on his level time helps.  None of my kitties are former ferrals where they hadn't been socialized much.  I do think the mother of my 2 was a stray; but I have never seen any feral behavior from my 2.  But I've still had to do that with other kitties we've gotten over the years.  Some cats are never really "lap" cats.  One of my mother's cats loves for you to play with her but she's never been much of a snuggler.  I've also had one like Katie mentioned that bonded more with me than anyone else in the family.

 

I would consider talking to the rest of the family about being gentle and easy going around Chance.  If everyone is on the same page it should help.  When my Mom and Step-dad married my Step-dad had Tiger, who was super super friendly and loved any kind of attention, so that's what my step-siblings were used to.  They were all younger than me in age too.  My 2 cats were not like that so the rougher, louder treatment they got from the step-siblings scared them.  It took time for everyone to get comfortable together.

 

It does sound like things are going well though and in the right direction.  I've heard others talk about a product called Feliway that can help scared kitties relax and adjust.   http://www.feliway.com/us  My vet just recommended I get that before my new baby comes this spring since one of my girls had a bit of a rough time when I brought my daughter home a few years ago.  That might be something to consider too.

post #6 of 15
Hello and a very warm welcome to TCS!! So sorry about your loss of Frisky. hugs.gifhugs.gif

Congratulations on your new kitten Chance. it sounds like Chance has not had handling by humans and the best way to start off on the right path with this kitten is to be in a small room until such time as he allows you to pet him and begins to trust you. If you chase after him or try to force the issue, he will become even more frightened and distrustful. Having the run of the house is too easy for him to avoid developing a trusting relationship with you. I would set up a small room for Chance with all of his necessities and start over with socializing him. You will somehow have to get him to that room.... I know, won't be easy. Make sure you have some hiding boxes for him in that room and if there is a bed, take away the bed frame and put the mattress on the floor. That way he can't hide from you under the bed. It is great he bonded with Crosby biggrin.gif and if Chance does see Crosby getting love and attention from you, this could help. Here is the problem though...... if Chance is getting all of his love, attention and having his needs met by Crosby, then Chance will not need that from you or at least he won't think he needs that from you. It could potentially take a very long time for him to come around to you and could run and hide all the time. Not good, especially if he were to need a vet or medication. It is always best for these types of feral/scared kittens to be confined to a small room so that you can bond and develop a trusting relationship for a solid foundation for years to come. Keep us posted on your little guy heartpump.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
Edited by Feralvr - 1/16/12 at 9:02pm
post #7 of 15

Hi and welcome!

 

I do agree with the battery of advices given from the others.

 

I want to add. When the time comes he begans to accept petting and cuddles. It is often easier to pet them when they are being up. Say laying conveniently on a sofa. may be easier than when they do stand on the floor. They themselves may prefer it so.

 

Not all cats are lap cats loving to sit up on knees. But many of these no lap cats love instead to sleep with you in the bed. Sometimes even on you.   :)

 

I presume the litter was born from a homeless mom?

 

Such a nice, lovely vet you do have, with the heart on the right place.

Please, send himher my greetings.

 

Good luck!   *vibes*

post #8 of 15

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been a natural at getting the UNfriendliest kitties in the neighborhood to be MY friend!!  Here's what I do....

 

1.  Get down on his level.  Sit on the floor.  Even lay on your side if you can. 

 

2.  Start talking calmly and sweetly to Chance.  Even have your other cat there so Chance can see it's cool. 

 

3.  Pull out the treats and place them close to you but not too close.   Eventually he has to get closer and closer to you to get the treat.  Do not reach to pet him just yet!

 

4.  When he's gotten the last and closest treat, show him the ones in your hand.  Don't force him.  Allow him to make the choice. 

 

5.  If he eats out of your hand, still do not touch him.  Repeat with the hand until he feels comfortable enough to do this without hesitation...

 

You may now pet him!!! 

 

Next see if you can get him to sit on your lap while you handfeed him treats... Repeat steps 4 & 5 just on your lap!! 

 

Hope this helps you!! 

 

Cats like to be the ones to decide to be our friend.  They don't like to be forced and the more you try to push or rush it, the more distant they become.  Be patient and work on a trusting and wonderful bond.  Handfeeding establishes trust.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your help everyone! I am ordering the Feliway after ready a lot about it. I don't want to traumatize him by taking him away from Crosby now. He is definitely getting more comfortable and curious, but I am hoping the Feliway will settle him. I will try with the treats again. He used to take them from my hand but now he doesn't. To P3 and the king, I will definitely try your suggestions a few times to see if they help.

 

If anyone has any other ideas, I am interested!

 

Thanks!

Aimee

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Update: I have not yet received the Feliway in the mail, but I did get to pet Chance for a while last night. I laid down on the floor and slid under the bed and he let me pet his face and scratch his back for ten minutes or so. It was great to hear his loud purr! He also jumped on my bed the other day while I was in it. He seems to be warming up a bit. In other news, he apparently has worms ohwell.gif. I got him medicine but I am not sure whether he or Crosby ate the food that it was in... always something!

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ariesprincez24 View Post

 I got him medicine but I am not sure whether he or Crosby ate the food that it was in... always something!


What medicine?   I understand it was no drop on.

Im not sure if it was said earlier. We recommend always to use medicine bought from, or at least recommended by your Veterinarian, or at least your Pharmacia/Apothece.

 

Medicines bough "over the counter" we advise from, as many of them are unsafe. Read dangerous.

 

Some may be OK, previously sold only in pharmacias but now also OTC. Like Revolution drop on.

If you KNOW what you are doing so...

But others are terrible.  Red flag.

 

post #12 of 15

I'm so glad he is warming up to you. It just takes time and patience.

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post


What medicine?   I understand it was no drop on.

Im not sure if it was said earlier. We recommend always to use medicine bought from, or at least recommended by your Veterinarian, or at least your Pharmacia/Apothece.

 

Medicines bough "over the counter" we advise from, as many of them are unsafe. Read dangerous.

 

Some may be OK, previously sold only in pharmacias but now also OTC. Like Revolution drop on.

If you KNOW what you are doing so...

But others are terrible.  Red flag.

 


I got the medicine from the vet. I forgot to mention it here, but I did in my other thread called "Worms...." It was drontal or something like that.

 

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ariesprincez24 View Post

Update: I have not yet received the Feliway in the mail, but I did get to pet Chance for a while last night. I laid down on the floor and slid under the bed and he let me pet his face and scratch his back for ten minutes or so. It was great to hear his loud purr! He also jumped on my bed the other day while I was in it. He seems to be warming up a bit. In other news, he apparently has worms ohwell.gif. I got him medicine but I am not sure whether he or Crosby ate the food that it was in... always something!



Yay!!  So happy to know it's working!!  Something about getting down on their level makes them a lot more comfortable and open to receiving affection from you.  Keep it up!!

 

post #15 of 15
clap.gif This is great news about Chance allowing some pets and was purring !!!! You are well on your way to him coming out of his fearful state rather quickly now. biggthumpup.gif OH dear on the Drontal. It sounds like he would be difficult to pill right now. You may have to get another pill from the vet and try again in two week's time making sure that Chance eats up all of the food. Keep us posted and glad to hear some great progress happy2.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
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